What does Google do for you as a small business? Because let me tell you: It should be doing a whole lot.
While strong community visibility and support—plus good ol’ word of mouth—are the backbone of the best small businesses, High Country SEO can put some serious meat on those bones.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is how people find you—especially folks who aren’t from around here or are new to your town. Sure, they’ll hear about you if they ask the locals. But these days, when someone needs a product or service, they search for it on Google.
Are they finding you there, too?
What is SEO?
Yes, SEO is all about “optimizing” “search engines.”
In plain speak, that means getting your website to show up when people search for things in Google.
Any internet search generates a list of websites that Google (or Google’s very complicated algorithm) thinks will answer your question. Google also trusts that these websites are currently maintained and up-to-date, and that they will load easily when you click on them, no matter what device you’re using.
The better your SEO, the higher up on that list of search results you’ll be.
How do you maximize Your Western Carolina SEO?
Yep, SEO is all about location location location—especially for small businesses. Potential customers want to know where you’re located. And when people in the Boone/Banner Elk area search for the goods and services you offer, you want your website to pop up.
Here are a few of the things your website needs to hone in order to climb the SEO rankings, see more website visitors, and ultimately connect with more customers:
Keywords: Keywords are the basic cellular matter of SEO. They’re simply words that specify your goods and/or services, your industry, and your area. Think about the kinds of searches your customers might type into Google, like, “Appalachian homemade apple butter, Blowing Rock.” Those keywords—and ones related to them—should be prevalent throughout the copy on your website (both the front-end stuff that everybody sees as well as the backend meta-descriptions that only your web manager and Google see).
Fresh content: Google gets bored quickly—don’t we all? If your website isn’t regularly updated, Google thinks you’re not paying attention. More importantly, sites with fresher information will get ranked ahead of you. Blogs, news updates, and even photo galleries are easy ways to keep offering new things on your site.
Easy access and navigation: Believe it or not, Google knows if your website is slow, or even if it’s designed badly and hard to navigate. Clean, fast-running, easy-to-use websites get high marks from search engines. (Yet one more reason to use a professional designer and web manager.)
Photos, Headers, Pictures, Etc. As we like to say, “content, content, content!” Google knows if your content is engaging, so it’s good to mix it up. Even breaking your copy into different paragraphs and giving them headers makes a difference.
Clicks, Bounce Rates, and Session Duration: And yes, just like in high school, popularity matters, too. Google prioritizes sites that not only get a lot of visitors, but keep those visitors happy. “Bounce rates” are bad—they refer to when people click onto your site, don’t see what they’re looking for, and leave immediately. So you have to get them in, and you have to show them what they’re looking for.
How Google’s September 2022 Core Updates affect your SEO:
On Sept. 12, 2022, Google began its latest “Core Update,” wherein it further hones its already eternally complicated algorithm. Google’s ultimate goal is to be helpful to the people who use its search engine, which means showing them real, up-to-date, easy-to-use websites containing accurate, engaging, and frequently updated content.
As Google continues to hone how it gauges these “quality website” factors, web designers who rely on cheap tricks are really in a bind. After all, with this latest update, Google is working to weed out sites that use old, duplicate or even auto-generated copy, or that trick you into visiting and even clicking further when they never give you any real information.
So how do you keep up with your SEO?
Google wants real people creating your website and your content. Every new Google update is just them trying to teach their algorithm how to detect real people. I mean, that’s pretty straightforward, right? Chances are, “real work done by real people” is how you run every other aspect of your business, too.
But if you’ve hired a web developer who doesn’t do the work themselves, who openly or secretly outsources their projects, then Google is going to make you pay. Overused templates? Auto-translated copy? This is not the “helpful website content” Google is looking for.
But if you want real people who do the website work ourselves, well, look no further.